The Office of Environmental Remediation (OER) at the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has approved a cleanup method to address environmental conditions at the Cheat River Rail Trail under the Voluntary Remediation Program (VRP #20018).  The applicant(s), Friends of the Cheat and the West Virginia Division of Multimodal Transportation Facilities, have been working with the WVDEP since negotiating a Voluntary Remediation Program Agreement on August 26, 2020.

The site is located on a former railroad right-of-way along the Cheat River between Rowlesburg and Manheim, Kingwood, Preston County, West Virginia, and is comprised of approximately 100 acres of property.  The Site is currently vacant.  Historically, the Site was a former railroad historically used to transport fossil fuels. Expected future use of the Site is a recreational trail for non-motorized travel.

Arsenic, benzo(a)pyrene, benzo(b)fluoranthene, and dibenz(a,h)anthracene have been identified as contaminants-of-concern (COCs) in soil at the Site.  Sources of these contaminants in soil are likely the result of historical industrial rail operations.

A human health risk assessment has been conducted to evaluate the potential for adverse human health effects that may result from exposure to COCs under current and planned future use.

Overall, none of the carcinogenic and/or noncarcinogenic results exceed EPA target cumulative exposure levels. The potential excess lifetime cancer risk (ELCR) calculated for the recreational user (child/adult) was 1E-05 (1 in 100,000) and within the EPA and WVDEP acceptable cancer risk range of 1E-04 to 1E-06. However, because the potential ELCR is greater than 1E-06 (1 in 1,000,000) for the recreational user scenario, public notification is required in accordance with the Voluntary Remediation and Redevelopment Rule, §60-3-7.12. The chemical-specific cancer risk estimates for industrial outdoor worker and construction worker did not exceed WVDEP’s threshold of 1E-05 for industrial sites.

An Institutional control has been implemented to manage human health risks at the Site and achieve remedial action objectives.  The Institutional Control is a Land Use Covenant (LUC) that has been recorded in the Preston County Clerk’s Office.  The LUC prohibits: a) development or use of property for residential purposes, other than recreation as a rail trail; b) extraction of groundwater for any use except groundwater monitoring and/or remediation. Upon completion of remediation, the applicant will submit a Final Report, documenting that all work is complete.

Applicants:Friends of the Cheat, Inc. 1343 North Preston Highway Kingwood, WV 26537 and West Virginia Division of Multimodal Transportation Facilities 1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East Building 5 – Room 132 Charleston, WV 25305
Site Location:Cheat River Rail Trail Manheim/Rowlesburg, Preston County, WV
Current Site Use:The Site includes 100-acres of a former railroad right-of-way along the Cheat River between Manheim and Rowlesburg, Kingwood, Preston County, West Virginia. The Site is a former railroad line used for transport of fossil fuels that is currently vacant. Planned future use is for a non-motorized recreational trail. A Site Assessment was completed to evaluate soil, water and sediment at the Site. Data were compared to the West Virginia De Minimis Standards and Relevant Benchmarks to identify Contaminants of Concern.
Contaminants of Concern:Contaminants of concern include Arsenic, benzo(a)pyrene, benzo(b)fluoranthene, and dibenz(a,h)anthracene in soils at the Site.
Remediation Standards and Exposure Control Methods:A De Minimis Ecological Screening Evaluation was completed and confirmed ecological receptors are not exposed to Site contaminants.  The Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment has calculated cumulative human health risk from exposure to soil contaminants from the ingestion, dermal contact, and inhalation pathways do not exceed 1E-05 for excess lifetime cancer risk; or a hazard index of 1 for non-cancer hazards and is therefore acceptable for planned future uses as a recreational trail. This risk level is also protective of construction and utility workers. To ensure protectiveness for all possible future land uses, a Land Use Covenant has been filed at the Preston County Courthouse that prohibits a) development or use of property for residential purposes, other than recreation as a rail trail; b) extraction of groundwater for any use except groundwater monitoring and/or remediation.
Site Documents Availability:Interested individuals may review and/or copy the site documents at the following locations:   Preston County Commission Office 106 W. Main Street, Second Floor of Annex Building
Kingwood, WV 26537  304.329.0070   Friends of The Cheat Website Documents available for download under menu option: Explore -> Cheat River Rail Trail  
Questions or Comments:A 30-day comment period will start June 11, 2024 and end July 11, 2024.  A public meeting will be held at the Friends of the Cheat office located at 1343 N Preston Highway, Kingwood, WV 26537, on July 2, 2024 at 4:00 PM, and virtually via an on-line Zoom meeting. 

To join and participate in the meeting, please use the following link:, with meeting ID 861 3487 0167.  

Comments regarding the site or this notice should be directed to either:
Matthew Gadd, WVDEP 131A Peninsula Street Wheeling, WV 26003 Phone:  304-926-0499, ext. 00097  
Marc Glass, Licensed Remediation Specialist Downstream Strategies, LLC 911 Greenbag Road Morgantown, WV 26508 Phone:  304-292-2450